A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world; what difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?—Oscar Wilde

Modern American Drinks: How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups, Cocktails, and Fancy Mixed Drinks

George J. Kappeler

Modern American Drinks by George Kappeler

Modern American Drinks by George J. Kappeler, part of the series Classic Cocktail Guides and Retro Bartender Books, edited by Rowan Grier and Joanne Asala. The cover image is from the December 9, 1916, issue of Puck Magazine. Puck was America’s first successful humor magazine, filled with colorful cartoons, caricatures, editorials, and political satire. It ceased publication in 1918.

Classic Cocktail Guides and Retro Bartender Books

Series Editor: Joanne Asala

If you are looking for the perfect cocktail to serve to your guests at your Victorian or Edwardian-themed wedding, Gay Nineties soire, or Belle Epoque bash, you’ll find it in Modern American Drinks, originally published in 1895 and brought back into print as part of our series Classic Cocktail Guides and Retro Bartender Books. This pre-Prohibition bartender guide is considered by many drink enthusiasts to be one of the most important cocktail books of the era, with dozens of recipes that had never been published before, including the first record of the Old Fashioned cocktail and the Widow's Kiss. Kappeler, who was the head bartender at the Holland House Hotel at Fifth and Thirtieth in Manhattan, writes in his preface:

“The recipes contained in this book are for the proper mixing of all kinds of drinks, such as Absinthes, Cocktails, Cups, Crustas, Cobblers, Coolers, Egg Noggs, Fixes, Fizzes, Flips, Juleps, Lemonades, Punches, Pousse Cafes, Frozen Beverages, etc. The formulas are simple, practical, and easy to follow and are especially intended for use in first-class Hotels, Clubs, Buffets, and Barrooms, where, if adopted and concocted according to directions given, they will be entirely satisfactory to the caterer and pleasing to the customer, the latter of whom will immediately notice a marked improvement in his favorite beverages.”

Sample Cocktail Recipes

Here are a sampling of the many delicious cocktails from the Gilded Age found within the pages of this book.


Put into a long glass the juice of half a lemon, one pony raspberry syrup, half a pony curacoa, one jigger St. Croix rum, fill the glass with fine ice; mix well, trim with a slice of pineapple, orange and lemon. Serve with straws.

Fish House Punch

Fill a mixing-glass half-full of fine ice, add the juice of half a lemon, one tablespoon fine sugar, half a jigger brandy, half a pony Jamaica rum, half a pony peach brandy; shake well, strain into thin punch-glass.

Brandy Smash (No. 1)

“George J. Kappeler...was for a long time at the head of the drink laboratory connected with the Holland House, which has a reputation for the excellence of its damp delights.”— Centralia Enterprise and Tribune, 1897

Dissolve one lump of sugar in a mixing-glass with a little water, add a few sprigs of fresh mint, press them gently with a muddler to extract flavor, fill the glass three-fourths full of fine ice, add one jigger brandy; mix well. Take an old-fashioned champagne glass, place a sprig of mint, stem down, in the hollow stem of glass, trim with fruit, then strain the mixture into the prepared glass.

Coffee Cocktail

Fill a mixing-glass half-full of fine ice, add two dashes Angostura bitters, half a tablespoonful fine sugar, one fresh egg, half a jigger port wine, half a jigger brandy. Shake well. Strain into a large cocktail-glass. Add a piece of twisted lemon-peel.

Modern American Drinks is available from Amazon.com.

ISBN: 978-1-880954-41-6

Chicago Editor and Proofreader

If you require editing services, please visit our Home Page

About Us
Contact Us
Proofreading & Editing
Editorial Rates
eBook Conversion & Design
Typesetting & Book Design
Gift Certificates
Now Available
Upcoming Releases
Grammar Tips
Publishing-Related Articles
Style Guides
Compass Rose Horizons